Royal Palace, TongaEdit profile
The Royal Palace of the Kingdom of Tonga is located in the northwest of the capital, Nuku Ê»alofa, close to the Pacific Ocean. The wooden Palace, which was built in 1867, is the official residence of the King of Tonga. Although the Palace is not open to the public, it is easily visible from the waterfront. In line with the deference the Tongans have for the royal family, poets almost never refer to the palace ( pÄlasi) by name, but use heliaki (allegoric references) like: Fanga-tapu (sacred beach, the shore in front of the building), Loto- Ê»Ä (inside the fence), Ê»Ä€-maka (stone fence), Hangai Tokelau (northwind against), a tree near the kitchen, and so forth. The old, about one meter high stone fence was so sacred to the king, that no one would ever dare to sit on it, let alone to cross it. However after 1990 the king had a 3 meter high grid fence erected. After 2000 some people broke through the gates with trucks. This prompted the installation of iron bars to secure the gates. The king and his family have several more palaces to choose from. There is a palace in Fua Ê»amotu, there is Kauvai near Longoteme, Liukava (revolution) in Kolovai, and both TufumÄhina and Vila (the villa) between Koloua and Pea. The vila was built by crownprince Tupouto Ê»a in the 1990s, who remained living there once he became king ( Siaosi Tupou V), far away from any neighbours. Since that time the palace was largely unused. However in 2010 major renovations were conducted. A new fence was erected and new wings were added, to house the national archives on one side and the privy council offices on the other side. It is expected that the king will also have royal audiences there again, instead of the now deserted buildings of the once British high commission. There is Tau Ê»akipulu palace on Lifuka in Ha Ê»apai, Fangatongo (mangrove beach) near Talau on Vava Ê»u, and there are residences in Niuafo Ê»ou and Niuatoputapu. The palace of Ê»Eua is just north of the harbour in Ta Ê»anga. In the 1980s the previous king, TÄufa Ê»Ähau Tupou IV had a new palace built on a mountain top near Houma, but it was never used and around 1990 not much more than the artistically made bathtub was left over, overgrown by weeds, until after 2000 that had disappeared too.